From the Boston Globe
What The Journalist Saw
Q&A on Nashville’s ‘Chapter 16’ Web site
In Defense of Print
From Providence Journal
Good Journalism is Always Worth the Effort
From Columbia Journalism Review
From Dallas Morning News
Book review: 'Into the Story' by David Maraniss
From Madison Magazine
Double Take on David Maraniss
From Shelf Awareness
Book Review: Into the Story
From Wisconsin State Journal
Maraniss--From Broadway to Kenya
From Kirkus, “Starred” Review
A wide-ranging mix of stories from the longtime Washington Post journalist, who blends the political and personal, the uplifting and tragic.
Rare is the daily-newspaper reporter who can produce virtuoso long-form work on deadline, but Maraniss (Rome 1960: The Summer Olympics that Stirred the World, 2008, etc.) presents two exemplars of the form. His feature on 9/11 heartbreakingly recalls the events from multiple perspectives, deftly shifting among quotidian detail (such as a Britney Spears photo taped to the computer of a World Trade Center worker), graphic imagery and emotional dialogue. Also outstanding is his story on Seung Hui Cho’s mass murder on the campus of Virginia Tech in 2007, which helped earn the Post a Pulitzer Prize. None of the other pieces quite capture the intense, in-the-moment feel of those stories, but Maraniss drills deep into his subject matter. He’s also an astute judge of the most interesting angle from which to start his investigations. Focusing on the life of Barack Obama’s mother, for instance, reveals plenty about the president’s character. In 1992, Maraniss reported on Bill Clinton by telling the story of the rough-and-tumble Arkansas town where he grew up, presaging the demeanor and shortcomings of his presidency. The bulk of the collection comes from the author’s Post reporting, though excerpts from his books are included as well, including an expertly observed chapter on the famous 1967 “Ice Bowl” between the Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys, drawn from his biography of Vince Lombardi, When Pride Still Mattered. The book also features three penetrating essays about the last days of his sister, his uncle and his father. In the last of them, “Dad and Ron Santo,” Maraniss merges his love of journalism and sports, focused on the image of his father listening to the former Cubs star call a game on the radio.
From Publisher’s Weekly
In this collection of previously published articles and excerpts from his books, Pulitzer Prize–winner Maraniss (Clemente) ranges over topics from the death of his sister and the deaths of strangers on September 11 to the political fortunes of Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and Al Gore and the timeless contributions to sports of legendary figures like Vince Lombardi, Muhammad Ali, and Roberto Clemente. With his characteristic elegance, Maraniss explores in these sketches just how ordinary life is until it is not. Thus, he gathers memories from survivors that seem trivial—such as the student walking into his German class at Virginia Tech joking with his professor—but that provide a reflection of the universal in the particular. He also examines in these essays the odd, chaotic mixture of banality and horror in the tragic experience itself. Visiting Vietnam with American soldier Clark Welch, Maraniss witnesses Welch conversing with North Vietnamese villager Nguyen Van Lam—two sworn enemies over 30 years ago—and marvels at the connections of history and individual lives and the intentions that rip people apart and sew them back together. Maraniss wonders how Vince Lombardi might have reacted to the shift of power between players and coaches in today’s professional football world. Behind all his quaint notions of spartan discipline, team love, and obedience to the leader, Lombardi above all was adaptable, reacting to conditions quickly enough to bend things his way. Maraniss’s lively sketches illuminate the lives of significant cultural and political figures and intimately capture various moments that define modern American cultural history. (Jan.)
Into The Story: A Writer's Journey Through Life, Politics, Sports, and Loss.
Maraniss, a multiple Pulitzer Prize winner, is a veteran newspaper journalist and the author of biographies of Bill Clinton and Vince Lombardi, as well as a book about the politically charged 1960 summer Olympics in Rome. This collection of previously published pieces demonstrates his ability to capture, with a few well chosen words, people and events with photographic clarity. The book’s profiles focus on the author’s two loves, politics and sports (Clinton, Obama, Gore; Lombardi, Ali, Clemente), but Maraniss also writes about universal themes: the death of a sister; the events of 9/11; the Vietnam War. He approaches all of his subjects from an objective journalist’s point of view: there is no hero worship in his profiles of admirable people, and no air of judgment in his portrayals of scoundrels (such as Edwin Edwards, the former Louisiana governor convicted on racketeering charges). The book is like a Maraniss sampler: read it, and then seek out the books from which some of its essays were drawn.